Legendary gets $220m investor for China filmmaking venture

Updated: 2011-08-22 10:02


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Legendary East, the Hong Kong-based venture launched by Legendary Entertainment this summer, will get $220 million in funding from a new investor, Reuters reported.

The investor, Paul Y. Engineering Group, will take a 50 percent stake in the new company, which will fund two English-language, event-style films per year for global audiences.

"We are very pleased that PYE has committed to Legendary East. This is another important milestone following the recent announcement of Legendary East’s formation," said Thomas Tull, Chairman and CEO of Legendary Entertainment and Chairman of Legendary East.

"We are committed to China and the surrounding region for the long run, and to producing entertainment that is globally appealing in quality, scale and impact."

The funds are being raised through a public placement on the Hong Kong stock exchange. Upon consummation, publicly-traded PYE will acquire the 50 percent stake in Legendary East funded by the issuance of new shares.

Legendary, led by Tull, will retain 40 percent ownership in the joint venture, and Huayi Brothers International, a third investor, will have 9 percent. A new investor, AID Partners, will take an undisclosed stake for a $35 million investment.

The company is the vision of Thomas Tull, Legendary Entertainment Chairman and CEO, who along with Chinese born Hong Kong media and finance entrepreneur Kelvin Wu. Wu will be the CEO of Legendary East.

The move is the latest Hollywood venture in China's direction. Ryan Kavanaugh's Relativity recently announced a partnership on the Chinese mainland to produce and distribute films for that burgeoning audience.

Legendary is a leading financier of films that is increasingly entering the production space. It has backed the critically acclaimed Inception, as well as the global blockbusters Clash of the Titans ($493 million worldwide), The Dark Knight ($1 billion worldwide).

PYE is an international engineering and property services group, with three core business functions: management contracting, property development management and property investment in Hong Kong, Macau and the Chinese mainland. This is its first foray into the movie business.